Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11/10:: Detroit Lives

I know I'm a bit late jumping on this bandwagon, but you have to forgive me. I've been a bit out-of-touch with Detroit lately, as I've moved back home to Pittsburgh to live with my family while I search for jobs. I think, however, that the Detroit Lives project has been saying something that a lot of young Detroiters have been trying to say for a long time now.

Most people ask me what it was like to live there, and they ask me with a tone that suggests "I'm surprised you survived." In some ways, it's just easier for me to tell that story. To say, "Yes, it's a wreck." "Yes, there is so much crime." "Yes, it feels dangerous to be alone after dark." That's what everyone wants to hear anyway.

"Is it true that they killed motown?"
What does that even mean? Motown was born in Detroit, and Detroit is still there. And who are "they"?

Although I don't always have the energy, I do try most of the time to express the other side of things. Because there IS another side! Detroit is perhaps the largest blank canvas... maybe the ONLY true metropolitan blank canvas in the country. A place where young people have a hand in HUGE changes, even with very little effort. You can take your art to Manhattan and feel lost, feel helpless, and struggle to have anyone notice you... or you can be in Detroit and with the flick of the wrist, change an entire city. You can be a part of re-growth, re-birth, and a strong youthful artistic community. It's an extremely powerful position, and there are tons of young people in Detroit doing it-- you just need to open your eyes to see them. Particularly having gone to College for Creative Studies, an amazing private art institution-- perhaps one of the best in the entire country-- I saw a lot of good energy and good actions.

It's a constant thing to hear people talk about their frustration with not being able to make a difference. "The real revolutions are all over." In Detroit, that's not true.

It's the heart that I can't describe to people-- the thing about Detroit that I struggle with articulating. And the misunderstanding starts close to home-- it's not just on tv and in magazines, but it's in the suburbs of Detroit itself! The very people who have front row seats to some of this amazing stuff are those that are the most fearful and lazy as well. Both the media and the suburbanites tend to miss the point. The bad stuff is there, yes, but there is bad stuff all over this country! What the rest of the country DOESN'T have, however, is some of the great creative community that is unique to the dirty D.

The video series entitled Detroit Lives by VICE media does a great job of pointing out some of that, particularly in the 3rd video-- it talks a lot about the artistic community's strength and contributions.

I highly suggest taking 30 minutes to watch the video series and perhaps form a new position on the city. Educating yourself with truth is better than being a part of the ignorant mass, yes?

Also, Detroit Lives is actually a much larger movement that is taking place in Detroit. It has a website that includes some promotional artwork/merchandise designed by some of my awesome friends from College for Creative Studies. Check out the site here:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8/8/10:: Doing Nothing

My current meditation:

Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole.

Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen.

Stick with the situation at hand, and ask,

“Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?”

You’ll be embarrassed to answer–it all can be endured.

Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you.

Only the present – and even that can be minimized.

Just mark off its limits.

And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold out against that ...

well, then, heap shame upon it.

-Marcus Aurelius

Monday, September 6, 2010

9/6/10:: Suburban Trash Re-run

If I were Johnny Cash, I would roll up the bottom of my jeans, slide on my boots, step outside onto my front porch, and light up a cigarette. I'd recline back in my chair and I would inhale and exhale and watch kids play in the street. I'd call all of my problems "the blues." I'd teach the weeping willows how to cry-- I'd teach the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.

I'm not Mr. Cash, of course, so-- I'll do what I can. I'll pace circles in my carpet. I'll lie on my back and watch my ceiling fan, reruns, ceiling fan, reruns. I'll check my email six times a day, maybe more. And I'll make false statements to myself about my general outlook.

I'll make lists. I'll refuse to make any more lists. I'll think about taking down old lists, and instead I'll make a declaration of "I'll do that tomorrow." Sometimes they fall down themselves, which is cool because then I don't have to think about them anymore.

It's not surprising that another summer has somehow passed. It's not surprising that we are on the brink of another winter that is bound to test the limits of my sanity.

If I was Johnny Cash, boredom would be taken with a stride.
I wouldn't have to try so hard to remind myself that doing nothing is still doing something.

I've got a lot of stuff. Between material things-- (things that I'm always tripping over because, frankly, I don't even have enough space for all the shit I own), and emotional things-- (things that I also manage to trip over from time to time), I am completely on overload. SO... I'm having a garage sale.

John Lennon illustrated portrait (matted)- $2
X-small Patrick Wolf teeshirt- $3
Veggietale's Larry the talking Cucumber toy- $1
The bags under my eyes- $1
The overflowing laundry basket- $2
Moodswings- $1.50 (each)

If I could stop myself from being repetitious, I would I would I would I would.